Article written by Liza Berger
Although the pandemic has had a negative effect on many aspects of long-term care, skilled nursing executives’ salaries may not be one of them. COVID-19 actually is pushing up industry executives’ salaries, creating demand as leaders leave, often due to stress and burnout, salary experts told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
“We are seeing a hazard pay bump,” noted Ryan McPherson, vice president of Medical Recruitment Specialists of Stoughton, MA. “They have to pay. There is not a lot of youth in this industry, so to keep these people around, they are seeing a nice little bump in pay.”
Rosanne Zabka, director of reports for the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service, which recently published the 2020-2021 “Nursing Home Salary and Benefits Report,” anticipates that these temporary bumps will translate to more permanent increases heading into 2021.
“We’ll see salary increases for top-level executives who received temporary increases of 4% to 6% during [the start of the pandemic],” she said, noting that overtime pay increases also will continue into next year.
Helping to boost salaries is immediate need. McPherson’s firm is filling many interim positions, including administrator and director of nursing positions, which helps people command their desired salaries.
Retirements are also creating vacancies at the upper levels, further making this a seller’s market, he pointed out.
“The DON is the most challenging position to recruit for right now,” said McPherson, whose firm serves clients primarily in the Northeast. “Right now, the DON [position] has become incredibly challenging, the reason being everything falls on their license, and many of the frontline staff have gotten sick themselves so they may have taken time off.”
With “everything clinically getting dumped in their lap,” McPherson said, DONs “were not in the fight to stick it out” and many are calling it quits.
Julie Rupenski, owner and principal of MedBest Recruiting, agreed that the pandemic has driven up skilled nursing executive compensation.
“Successful executives are able to command higher salaries and bonus packages due to the increased demands brought on by the pandemic,” she said. “Their jobs are simply more demanding and, therefore, they have less work / life balance.”
This article appeared in the McKnight’s Business Daily, a joint effort of McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.
Complete coverage of long-term care salaries and benefits, as well as the 2020-2021 HCS nursing homes salary report, will appear in the November print issue of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.